It’s official. Mark Savard is the winner of the Kazlaw Mountain Biking Community Award for his contributions to the riding community in the province.
The award was started in 2010 by Marc Kazimirski, a former racer who believes in giving opportunity to those who give back.
Online voting began last month and wrapped up March 13.
“It’s an honour for me, for sure,” Savard told the Tribune. “Just being nominated was great. I don’t do any of this to get recognition, I just do it because I can, but to actually win was pretty awesome.”
Savard, who owns Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed and is known by many in the community as ‘Shreddie,’ was among five finalists in the running as someone “who makes mountain biking happen in your town.”
The award grants Savard an entry package to the 2015 BC Bike Race, a seven day mountain bike stage race known as the ultimate single track experience.
The race starts June 27 and runs from Vancouver to Whistler over 327 kilometres of feature trails and organized kids’ races in communities along the way.
Savard openly admits he’s by no means a competitive rider and will now need to focus his efforts on training for the race.
“I definitely have the skill set to do the race, but I’m actually going to have to get off my ass and train,” he said. “Riding seven days is one thing but trying to keep up with the serious crew that’s going to be there is a game changer for me. I’m going to have to put my game face on and get out there.”
Savard has been active in B.C.’s biking community for the past 25 years working closely with the Williams Lake Cycling Club and the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium to help build and maintain a diverse network of trails in Williams Lake and other areas of the Cariboo.
His passion, however, goes beyond mountain biking as Savard is an avalanche expert, a trail builder, a mountaineer, a back country skier, an avid paddler, a windsurfer and an ice climber.
In the past 25 years Savard has accumulated roughly 14,000 volunteer hours working with many different organizations.
Thomas Schoen, president of the CMBC, said it’s fantastic news to hear Savard won the award.
“Shreddie is a dedicated, hard-working volunteer and it’s important we recognize the fact,” Schoen said. “Let me use this opportunity to point out just how significant the importance of volunteer work is to our community, our province and our country.”
Schoen said in 2010 about one half of Canadians contributed their time, energy and skills to groups and organizations such as charities and non-profits.
“Shreddie started 20-plus years ago and look at where we are now. Williams Lake is a leading community in the mountain bike world,” he said, noting he’s worked closely with Savard as a trail builder, a director for the WLCC and as chair of the CMBC.
“The guy is amazing,” he said. “He’s passionate, full of energy and enthusiasm and he has the ability to motivate an army of volunteers. Way to go, Shreddie. I’m glad the mountain bike world recognizes his efforts.”
Meanwhile, BC Bike Race organizer Andreas Hester couldn’t be more pleased with the result of the competition.
“I couldn’t be more stoked to have Shreddie nominated and the winner,” Hester said. “We’ll roll out the red carpet for him.”